Our vision at Waterdown Museum of Hope is to create a space to inspire and empower future generations by preserving and sharing stories that ignite hope, foster understanding, and promote positive change.

Celebrating 10 years in 2023

A project that started as a way to engage students deeply and differently in the study of history has evolved into an internationally recognized museum. This format has inspired new student-run museums in Ancaster and Burlington, plus a book in Japan. Partnerships established over the years include the Liberation of Holland Group (Netherlands), The Anne Frank House (Amsterdam), Hamilton Jewish Foundation, HMCS Haida, our local feeder schools and Optimist and Rotary Clubs.

“In Japan, it is rare to find teachers who teach museum-building classes. With the book we are publishing, we are trying to make Japanese teachers aware of Rob’s classes. His class will inspire more and more history teachers in Japan to have their students do various activities.”

Masahiro Nii, Japanese National Institute for Educational Policy Research

Museum Highlights


Inspired by Anne

An Anne Frank travelling exhibition from New York, “Art and Propaganda in Nazi-occupied Holland”, on loan to WDHS from the Hamilton Jewish Federation, inspired the start of a student-run museum. The museum opened with donated display cases. Other collections were loaned from the Warplane Heritage Museum and the John McCrae Museum in Guelph. The museum received seed funding through the Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grant from “Facing History and Ourselves”, an organization that uses lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate.


Official Dedication

“The Hope Project” was an end-of-year assignment that encouraged students to tie their family history to their community. This started an influx of artifacts and memorabilia from the Flamborough area. Research into each student’s family history evolved into a wall display called “Wall of Heroes”. The Waterdown Museum of Hope (aka Waterdown Museum of History) was officially dedicated on November 11, 2014.


The Gramophone Tour Project

The Gramophone Tour Project began in the Netherlands by Dr. Jeroen Pinto, an historian from the UK. The tour pays tribute to lost WWII Air Force members. To honour the lives of these pilots, Dr. Pinto arranges memorial services on Royal Canadian Air Force bases in the UK/Europe each year and during the service, plays popular 1940’s big band music from one of the three 1930’s gramophones that he purchased to bring listeners back to the time in which these pilots lived. These gramophones have played on the airfields from where pilots took off in their Lancaster and their Vickers airplanes to help liberate his country from Nazi oppression. The gramophone travelled through the United Kingdom, took a trip on the Canadian Lancaster Bomber and the museum was one of its Canadian stops.

May 2016

Construction of Walk-In Trench

A donation from the Rotary Club of Waterdown allowed the museum to purchase two uniforms and build an exact scale walk-in trench, 21 feet long and 4 feet wide. The trench commemorates the 100th Anniversaries of the Battle of the Somme in 2016 and Vimy Ridge in 2017. Inspired by the walk-in trench at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, this is an example of the kind of experiential learning the Genocide course.

November 22, 2017

Excellence in Teaching History

Rob Flosman received the 2017 the Governor General’s History Award, recognizing his excellence and dedication to teaching history through the student-run museum. He received the honour on November 22 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

May 4, 2018

Happy Dutch Liberation Day!

As part of the museum’s spring opening in Semester 2, the museum played their 1940’s gramophone at 2 pm, the same time as students in Winnipeg, England and the Netherlands, to mark the liberation of Holland.

Fall 2018

The Increase in anti-Semitism

Fall 2018 exhibits commemorated the 80th anniversary since Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. To recognize this event, the Waterdown Museum of Hope built a replica Jewish storefront for students to learn hands-on about this event that increased anti-Semitism.

Fall 2018

Museum Expansion

The museum added a new room that focused on the Holocaust. Students took visitors through the birth of Nazism and Hitler. The room also includes a model of a train car used to transport Jewish prisoners. The train car was built by Alexis Rayner and her grandfather Cliff, and included displays about Holocaust survivors Elie Wiesel and Max Eisen.

May 15, 2019

Special Event with Menno Metselaar

In recognition of Anne Frank’s 90th birthday, the museum hosted Menno Metselaar, Project Manager at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam on May 15. Mr. Metselaar is the author of various books on the life of Anne Frank. After his talk, Mr. Metselaar signed copies of his book and visited the
museum. Our student docents escorted him around each display and he shared additional insight into Anne Frank’s life and the Anne Frank House. For the Fall 2019 exhibit, Mr. Metselaar donated virtual reality goggles of Anne Frank House.

April 1, 2019

Congratulations Mr. Flosman!

On April 1st, Rob Flosman received the Sharon Enkin Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education for his incredible work with the Waterdown Museum of Hope.

September 2019

Visit from Japanese researchers

Researchers from Japan visited the Waterdown Museum of Hope in September 2019. They learned about the museum through Rob Flosman’s Governor General’s Award. They’ve identified two problems in Japanese history education. History education is far from students’ interests and concerns and Japanese teachers need to be aware of specific classes and curricula that engage students. Their research aims to collect lessons taught by effective history teachers in overseas classrooms.

June 2022

Red Friday and Museum Announcement

Waterdown Museum of Hope participated in the 3rd Annual Red Friday (Remember Everyone Deployed) Celebration to say thank you to our veterans, military and first responders. The museum also announced an exciting new joint venture with the Waterdown Legion to house our collection.

June 16, 2022

Visit with Nadia Rosa, Holocaust Survivor

The Waterdown Museum of Hope welcomed representatives from the Hamilton Jewish Federation. The visit also included Nadia Rosa, a survivor of the Holocaust. Her story, as well as her Yellow star are on display at the museum. She was born in 1938 in Czechoslovakia and lived with her mother and maternal grandparents during the war. While hiding with a gentile family, she was betrayed by a Gestapo informant. Nadia and her family were transported to the Sered and Terezin concentration camps. During the day, Rosa would go with other children to line up for food. From 15,000 children, only 150 survived. Nadia and her mother were liberated on May 9, 1945, but many relatives perished, including her grandparents. Now 84 years old, she lives in Hamilton, and is instrumental in Holocaust education throughout Hamilton. This experiential learning experience allowed students in Mr. Flosman’s Genocide Class to further understand her experience. When asked why she continues to tell her story, she stated, “One and a half million children died and I survived. I have an obligation to speak for them.”

November 2022

Student Documentary

Students at Sheridan College, Bachelor of Film and Television Program, produce a documentary about the Waterdown Museum of Hope. The documentary’s story will be told through Mr. Flosman and current students.

Anticipated November 2023 Opening

Joint Venture with Waterdown Legion

We look forward to the opening of the museum at the Waterdown Legion in November 2023. Artifacts will be displayed in specially built cases along the west wall of the building.

November 11, 2022 – July 31, 2023

Launch of Capital Equipment Fundraiser

The museum officially launched a Capital Equipment fundraiser to raise funds for display cases for the Waterdown Legion. Generous Gold Sponsors include the Waterdown Legion, Waterdown Legion Ladies Auxiliary, WDHS Student Parliament 2022/23, Rotary Club of Waterdown, Waterdown District Lions Club, Turkstra Lumber, Brown Financial Security Inc. and Brown Lawyers. Bronze Sponsors include Birmingham Consulting and Kitching Steepe & Ludwig Funeral Home.

September 2023

Cabinet Installation

Museum members worked with Obsidian Manufacturing Ltd. for the construction of seven display cases. In early September, they were installed at the Legion.